Reading your cover feature on hospital mortuaries ('On the shelf ', pages 28-31, 29 March), I was shocked at what Andrew Moultrie, mortuary technician at Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, had to say about the number of post-mortems carried out and the reasons for the decline.

He states that one of the reasons for the decline is the fact that junior doctors are not experienced enough to ask for permission, and he goes on to say that in a teaching hospital postmortems are a valuable teaching aid and are much better than a book.

As a nurse of almost 30 years' experience, I perhaps somewhat naively assumed that postmortem examinations were carried out to help determine the cause of death in cases where this was not clear.

I recognise that with all forms of procedures there can be a learning opportunity, but the way in which Mr Moultrie has described this issue would make one think that this was the prime reason.

David Johnston Senior nurse adviser/ commissioning nurse Northern health and social services board Ballymena Northern Ireland